MINNEAPOLIS - A record 35 million people visited Mexico in 2016.
Today, though, Mexico shows up in red, orange, and yellow in the U.S. State Department's map, indicating different levels of "travel warnings" for the country.
"That means some parts of Mexico right now the U.S. government considers as dangerous as Iraq and Syria," said Mark Albert, the Editor-In Chief of "The Voyage Report," a site for travel news and information.
"My main concern is the violence encroaching on areas where Americans and Minnesotans go and the answer from the State Department is - absolutely yes. Last year, was the most dangerous year in Mexico with nearly 30-thousand murders. You really have to be careful," said Albert. "Obviously, this is not everywhere in the country, but enough places that you need to check with the State Department - based on where you're going - to see if you're comfortable with that level of risk."
This risk is now higher in Playa del Carmen. This week, the U.S. banned government employees from traveling there after explosives were found on two different ferries, one that went off, injuring at least 25 people.
"The take away for American citizens should be that you need to consider that information before making your own decision to travel to that area," said Heather Nauert, a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department.
The Mexican government is down-playing it, saying in a statement: "All tourism and economic activity in Playa del Carmen continues in a normal manner. We do not know why the US Government decided to emit this alert."
Flights are still available to Mexico. If you haven't booked one, though, Albert suggests looking into the recovering Caribbean, as there are plenty of deals.
"Everyone has their own level of risk tha they're comfortable with. For me, personally, there are so many places out there that I can spend the same amount of money and have a better experience, perhaps," said Albert.
But, if you have booked to Mexico, and you're not comfortable going anymore, Albert says - call your airline, just beware.
"Some travel insurance policies will not reimburse you even though the State Department is warning against travel," said Albert, who, encourages people to be persistent. "If you can get the airline to waive that $250, $350, maybe even $400 change fee, that would certainly be a big thing. If you don't get the answer you're looking for, hang up and call again or ask for the supervisor."
Albert also suggests signing up for Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. STEP sends information about safety conditions in your destination country, helps the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, and helps family and friends get in touch with you, too.